The hurricane season officially begins this Sunday and a leading expert warns of more tropical storms this year than usual.
Forecaster William Gray of Colorado State University said Friday that the weakening of the phenomenon known as El Nino, combined with the likely formation of its opposite, La Nina, may boost tropical storm activity.
El Nino is the name of the periodic warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean, while La Nina is the occasional cooling of the same equatorial waters.
Mr. Gray and his team of meteorologists are predicting eight hurricanes this season, twice as many as last year. They have also calculated that there is a 69 percent chance - well above average - that a major hurricane will hit U.S. land.
In all, the team believes 14 storms will be strong enough to be given names.